Springsteen and IOverview -
Fully endorsed and supported by Bruce Springsteen, Springsteen & I is a unique feature music documentary celebrating a rock ‘n’ roll icon. The film has already enjoyed a very successful theatrical release grossing over $2.5 million in cinemas in 50 countries since July 2013. Working with the filmmakers, Springsteen’s fans have helped create a film that reflects on their personal experiences to explore what this timeless artist means to them amidst amazing performance footage.
The experiences that form the emotional core of this compelling film are touching, at times humorous and frequently extraordinary insights and stories that all come from the heart. Springsteen & I is a film by the fans and for the fans, created with the full support of Bruce Springsteen, which tracks his career to date.
Ridley Scott, Executive Producer, commented, “This beautifully crafted film provides a unique insight into the powerful bond between a recording artist and those who connect so profoundly with his music.”
USA Today highlighted the “plethora of unseen material even the die-hards haven't laid eyes on yet” which includes footage of unseen Springsteen performances of classics such as “Dancing In The Dark,” “Born In The USA,” “I’m On Fire,” “Born To Run,” “The River,” “Thunder Road,” “Spirits In The Night,” and many more. As Bonus Features we also include six tracks from Bruce Springsteen’s 2012 Hyde Park performance: “Thunder Road”; “Because The Night”; “Shackled & Drawn” and “We Are Alive”, and “Twist and Shout” and “I Saw Her Standing There” accompanied by Paul McCartney sharing vocals. There is also additional fan contributions not included in the film.
Springsteen & I is a celebratory experience that wears its heart on its sleeve. The NME said the film perfectly captured “the stomach-flipping feeling you get when Springsteen straps on a guitar”. Director Judd Apatow called the film “a great music doc. Really moving, it rocked. There is nobody like Springsteen.”
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
I've been a fan of The Boss aka Bruce Springsteen since I could talk and sing. His dedication to his music is unparalleled with his throaty vocals, his musical talents, his band, and the meaning and messages in his songs. It's safe to say that Springsteen has touched the lives and souls of almost everybody who has listened to his music. He sells out his concerts in mere minutes, his albums fly off the shelves in record time, and he is one of the biggest names in rock n' roll. He is also one of the most genuine and humble human beings. Despite the fame, wealth, and glory, Springsteen has developed a relationship with his audience over the last few decades that rivals anybody else in the business.
Sure, there are rabid fans for the likes of the remaining Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, and even Justin Bieber. But the difference between those fans and Springsteen fans is that Springsteen makes himself accessible in a way the others didn't. For example, I consider myself one of the biggest Michael Jackson fans, but I always knew I'd never get to meet him or shake his hand. It was more like a fairy tale, with this pop God who made excellent music to dance to that I knew I would never get within a 100 feet of him. Meanwhile, Springsteen is considered the every-man, the working-man's musician, and doesn't fancy himself with elaborate costumes on stage or crazy lighting effects.
No, he comes on stage in jeans and a t-shirt with a killer band, and put's on such a kick-ass show, that you would think it's the last show he was ever going to perform. He does this every time he performs live. Not only that, he makes himself available to his fans by taking pictures with them, shaking their hands, and having genuine conversations with them. He's not interested in the money or fame, but rather the music itself, the message, the freedom, and the fans.
And that is what this documentary, 'Springsteen and I' is all about, the fans. If you can believe it, Ridley Scott produced this documentary, which means he is probably a huge Boss fan, and it takes a very different approach in the way it was made and how it tells its story. A couple of years ago, a production team along with Ridley Scott wanted to make a documentary on Bruce Springsteen. Instead of rehashing more material and archival footage of The Boss's career and life, they decided to make a movie about what the man himself and his music means to his very loyal fans.
There was no production team on this documentary, but rather the producers put out the word on websites across the nation, asking people to submit raw fan made videos of themselves, discussing what the rock n' roll icon means to them, and any personal stories they might have had with the Boss. Then the editing team gathered the 1000s of videos that came in and edited them together to make this movie. From YouTube clips to home video cameras, this documentary is quite fun to watch. If you're expecting a history of the Boss, you need to find something else to watch, because it isn't here.
It was great to see the wide variety of people who are fans of Springsteen. From a 10 year old boy to people well into their golden years, it seems that the Boss has made these people feel alive through his music, and continues to do so. There are some heartfelt stories, such as a man who tears up when he talks about what Bruce's music means to him. I can only imagine the memories that were brought up when he talks about the music on camera. There are also some pretty funny moments, where a few people discuss getting up on stage with Bruce at a live show and dancing with him. Then there is the creepy and borderline stalker people, who are just huge fanatics about Bruce, who I imagine have a scary shrine to their idol. It's all here. All races, creeds, and religions are shown here with one common denominator - Bruce Springsteen. There are even people overseas who love his music and talk about his songs that evoke freedom. It's all very heartfelt.
This is a fun and interesting documentary, one that we might have not seen if it weren't for the greenlight from the Springsteen camp. But, it was great to see just how many different people, regardless of age, love the man and his music.
'Springsteen and I' comes with an interesting 1080p HD transfer presented in a variety of different aspect ratios, which is mostly 1.78:1 and 1.33:1, but others tend to pop up, considering how this movie was made. Since this video was made solely by the average person sending in home video footage, cell phone footage, and YouTube clips, along with some archival concert footage, it's difficult to put a big official stamp on this.
Of course, some of the recent interviews with the fans look better than others, considering the source material, and some of the archival footage looks a little worse for wear, but overall, the final product looks decent enough, especially for a fan made documentary. The recent interviews are very sharp, and the colors are well balanced when it's not YouTube clips or cell phone footage. So be prepared for varying degrees of video quality throughout.
This release comes with both a DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix as well as a LPCM stereo 2.0 track. You might think the 5.1 is the way to go here, and it is, but there isn't much difference between the two audio tracks. This documentary is mostly all talking head interviews with very few short scenes of actual music.
Once the music start playing, the 5.1 sound kicks in, but it never lasts for more than a few seconds. The rest of the time, it's people talking directly to a camera, so it's a very front and center heavy track. The dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to understand, and the fidelity is well balanced here. If' you're wanting a full Springsteen music sound, look for one of his concert films.
- Hard Rock Calling 2012 (HD, 36 mins) - When this movie came out for a day or so in theaters, Springsteen treated them to a live performance called Hard Rock Calling 2012. He performed a small set of classic songs including 'Thunder Road', and had former Beatle Paul McCartney come out and the two did 'When I Saw Her Standing There' and 'Twist and Shout'. This is a must see.
- Fan Submissions (HD, 29 mins) - Here are 30 more minutes of fan submissions for the documentary, which are fun to watch.
- Meet the Fans (HD, 11 mins) - Again, here are more scenes of fans talking about The Boss.
'Springsteen and I' is one fun and interesting documentary that doesn't cover the music legend, but showcases his fans and their love and loyalty for him. You can really tell how Bruce has touched the lives of his fans through his actions and music. Bruce and his bandmates do not make an appearance here. The video quality is good for what it is, and the sound does what it needs to do, being a documentary. The extras are a lot of fun too. If you're a Springsteen fan, this is a must own. Recommended.
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